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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I need your help. My domestic Partner & I have lived together

Customer Question

I need your help. My domestic Partner & I have lived together for the past 5 yrs. He has been unemployed the last 3 and experienced reoccuring problems with drug addiction along with unresolved childhood issues with his parent / child relationship. He is ADD & struggled with depression for many years as I understand. Last night he said the suscidial addiations he has experienced are every day. He cant be helpful to anyone and sees no reason to continue to live. He cant help me and he is a complete disappointment to his parents (that is what HE says , of course I would go through Hell for him, I am.)He left Medical School his last year before becomming a DR (MD) and has never gotten past the failure & that his Parents wouldnt help him financially to complete the last year when he was struggling so desperately to make it when it was his Mother that wanted him to go to Med School to start with. They decided he was actively using drugs and He insists he wasnt. Thats the background in a nutschell. Problem : He has no Insurance. He is 40 now & wont sign himself in to someplace. I am convienced he needs hospitalization or at the very least Psychiatric help NOW. I have contacted local behavorial health. our Fam phys put him on another drug and thought it was working but.... I dont think so now. I cant loose him without trying to help everyway I can. He is the best man I know but the demons are winning! Please, dear God , please help me help him. What do I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 3 years ago.

This is a very difficult situation, and to be honest, there is no simple solution.


Until someone with a problem accepts that there is a problem, they won’t do anything about solving it. That’s the first hurdle. The second is convincing them that help is available, and that the should accept it. At least he is open to a degree of help, in that he is prepared to take medication, but from what you describe, a brief spell of hospitalization would help.


Sustained gentle persuasion is at least part of the answer. Just being there to listen, and letting the person know that you are there for them may let them build up enough trust inside themselves to begin to deal with it.


You may not to be able to solve their problem, or for that matter understand how they feel, but just listening and letting them talk can be really helpful.


Getting people to open up can be difficult. It has to be done sensitively so that the person does not feel put down or alienated. A gentle approach like ‘It must be difficult feeling as you do. Perhaps we could talk about it? is often the best start.


Choose your time and place carefully if possible so that the person feels as safe and as comfortable as possible.


Try to make sure that the person feels that you are on their side, and try to use ‘open questions’ – ones that don’t allow a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.


Don’t try to give them solutions, because as they open up and talk, the person begins to find their own solutions.


Good beginnings are:

Where – 'Where did that happen?'

When – 'When did you find out……?'

What – 'What else was happening?'

How – 'How did you feel?'

Can you tell me…….

How are you feeling? This helps to get past the bare facts of a situation, and lets people begin to look at their inner turmoil.

Don’t push hard or try to tell them what they MUST do – give them space and time to talk.


Get a couple of magazine articles about depression, and leave them lying around.


There are some things you can do, and here are some tips:


What you can say that helps:

I’m here for you – you’re not alone.

What causes these thoughts and feelings is a real illness, and it can be treated..

You may not believe it now, but someday, this will pass and you’ll feel differently.

I care about you and want to help, even if I don’t really understand what you are going through right now, how you feel, and what you’re thinking

Don’t ever give up – just hang on one more minute or hour – whatever you can.

You are important to me. Your life is important to me, and to everybody who knows you

I’d like you to tell me what I can do now to help you.

We can get through this together


Don’t say:

Cheer up- it could be worse

Quit worrying about it – you’ll be fine

Your just imagining it, it’s all in your head.

Everybody feels like this sometimes

Why do you want to die – look at the life you’ve got.

You’ll just have to help yourself

I’d have thought you would be better by now.

Get over it and snap out of it.

Grow up and act like an adult.

What’s the matter with you anyway?


You’ll also find some helpful information here:

http://www.familyaware.org/

Also the Samaritan’s web site in the UK here is a mine of useful information which will help you, as is the National Suicide Prevention line (in the USA), which you will find here.


Ultimately, of course, a person can be hospitalized against their will, but only under the strictest of circumstances. If you think he is at imminent risk, you should consider this.

The laws of committal vary from State to State, but in general there are broad similarities.

Committal is a legal means of providing individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment when required. It can be voluntary or involuntary.


A voluntary committal is when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent or guardian of a person age 17 or under, applies for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis or treatment freely and of their own accord

An involuntary committal is when a person is taken to a facility for involuntary examination.


This can only be done when :

There is reason to believe that he or she is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness

The person has refused voluntary examination and

The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary and without care or treatment, and the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself and such refusal could pose a threat of harm to his or her well being;

and there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself, herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

A person may not be detained for more than 72 hours.

A law enforcement officer may take an individual to a facility for evaluation if he has reason to believe that the individual's behavior meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination.

If a person is willing to swear in a Petition for Involuntary Examination that he has personally witnessed an individual causing harm to themselves or others, an "ExParte" for an Involuntary Examination can be made.

A person may not be detained for more than 72 hours on primary committal.

These are general guidelines, and you should get legal advice as to what specifically applies in your State.

Best wishes, NormanM


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Norman I appreciate what you say but it does not give me a resolution. I do not doubt that your advice is top quality medical advice or that you are well qualified to council as you have but the problem I am dealing with however is that I am trying with every opportunity to talk with him just as you have suggested, in the manor you have recommended.He turns the situation to " My Parents dont care" or " I dont believe them" & "They dont believe in me". I had just finished talking to him all night and the positives you mentioned was what the conversation consisted of. I finally ended by saying I would be devastated without him and I hurt to see him hurt so much. I know it is so very unfortunate how things seem between he & his parents but they are human and make/ made mistakes. I am afraid to leave even to visit my daughter in the next city. He made the comment that well maybe I need to send you somewhere. As I was typing, he talks in his sleep & he said "Baby, are you going to use the money for the funeral?" I am SO confused that the talking we have been doing is not letting him vent & heal but feeding the wolf that waits to kill him, figuratively speaking. I told him that if he looked into the night sky he may not be able to see the beauty of the stars without a telescope. That doesnt mean they arent there just that sometimes we need the extra help to see them. Depression is a terrible, terrible illness to have to struggle with and it is clouding HIS vision and perception but we can work through this and 30 mins later he is asking me if I need to use the money for the funeral. Is this a point of no return or a serious cry for help? What can I do if he continues to insist he sees no way to "make things better". If involuntary committal is only good for 72 hours, IF I commit to try that am I just ruining what trust he has in me? This is the blind walking with the blind. I am not qualified as you are to lead and he is in no shape to follow right now. I need an outside point of view, yours, to tell me where to find the telescope I need to guide us through this before I lose him. What do you think he is saying to me?
Expert:  Norman M. replied 3 years ago.
It sounds to me as if you are doing as much as is humanly possible. I don't know if this a point of no return or not - but frankly, I doubt it. This a cry for help, in my estimation

If he continues to threaten suicide, what choice do you have? You can carry on, hoping that things will change. They may, or he may carry out the threat.

Alternatively, you may try for committal and forestall the threat altogether. Although initially, it is time limited so that a thorough assessment can be made, if he is thought to be a risk, he will be detained for treatment.

I understand with total clarity that there IS a risk involved in this course of action, that if he is simply discharged, he may lose trust in you.

If you just let him drift on, threatening self harm, and he does hurt himself, how will you feel then? If you take the risk and have him committed for assessment, at least you have nothing to reproach yourself for. You will at least know, deep in your inner heart, that what you did was with the very best of intentions, and completely unselfish.

What more could anyone ask of you.

My view of the situation is this - if you truly believe that he is at risk, and that you cannot pesuade him to go to hospital voluntarily, the bravest and kindest thing you could is to seek outside intervention

I wish sincerely XXXXX XXXXX could say "if you do "X", everything will be fine." I cannot. All I can do is lay out my own view for you, and hope that you have the strength you are going to need to make that decision, whatever way it may go.

Whatever you do decide, I wish you both the best possible outcome.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
Norman M. and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Norman I just needed your professional opinion to help me be objective. I appreciate the time you have given our desperate delema.
Expert:  Norman M. replied 3 years ago.
You are much more than welcome! Thanks, too for accepting my answer.

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